Maitreya One is the first of his kind: a Transhumanist Hiphop artist who is ready to spread the message of transhumanism with his powerful tracks and live performances. Having been around for the first annual Extreme Futurist Festival, Maitreya One is a veteran of the transgressive art and tech scene. I decided to interview him about his ideas, music, upbringing, visions for transhumanism, and more.
Rachel Haywire: What got you into making Hiphop? Do you have any specific influences, musical or otherwise?
Maitreya One: I can’t remember a specific time I got into the culture of Hiphop. For me, it seems like it was always there. I do remember when I decided to take the culture seriously. I was reading an article in the daily news about the housing project where I come from. The title was “Pope Blessings No Miracles.” This article was about Pope John the 2nd blessing my housing project grounds before it was built. I’m an atheist but I felt really insulted. It seemed to me like the well-to-do were condescending about us being poor. It was like they had to strip us of our divinity, whether it is true or false. All these people have is their religion, and they were trying to insult us by saying we were so hopeless that our projects could not be saved.
I tried reaching out to the archbishop, but all he did was rush me off the phone. Then I found this book called The Messiah about the hood I come from. It’s a fictional book about an Irish Hispanic boy who becomes a messiah and goes against the alternative Christian Right. I figured that with my music in the culture, coupled with my inspiration, I could prove that journalist wrong. The plan was to connect the Timeship with Hiphop culture. The Timeship is set to be the largest structure dedicated to conquering aging and death designed by Stephen Valentine. I decided to build a blueprint for a future Hiphop City, which I concealed in my album cover seal. I then went on to sell my album though a wine company, which was my way to bring honor back to my housing project. (Christopher Courts)
My cultural influences are KRS-One, Grandmaster Flash, Melle Mell, and Bam Shirt King Phade. Just to name a few.
RH: What introduced you to Transhumanism?
MO: I remember when I met Ray Kurzweil at Lincoln Center in New York City at the opening of his documentary The Transcendent Man. I started reading his book The Singularity is Near, which was about machines and human beings merging.
RH: Is this how you got the idea of bringing Transhumanism and Hiphop together?
MO: Yes, this was how it started. When I talked to Ray I was reminded of how transcendent Hiphop was, so I began thinking about how to merge both worlds together. I knew that Hiphop and Transhumanism working side by side would be perfect. Stevie Wonder called Kurzweil a prophet, and Quincy Jones said great things about him too. All of this left a great impression on me. In fact, I am listening to Stevie Wonder right now. Quincy Jones is at the top of my list for production and arrangement. I read The Timeship and the rest was history.
RH: So the Timeship has influenced your music?
MO: All the way. When I met Stephen Valentine, the architect of the Timeship, I wrote a song about it called “Frosty the Snowman and the Timeship.” It was a cryonicist Christmas Carol. I put two of my friends, Ras and Az, on the track. Mr. Valentine paid for the mastering. I have mad respect for him. It was two people on the opposite side of the political spectrum working together for a common good. Unfortunately when it was time to shoot a video hardly anyone wanted to move forward. The people who did want to charge me thousands of dollars. Now I am left with great music and unfinished songs. I have a great marketing plan but no funding.
RH: Do you know of any other Transhumanist Hiphop artists?
MO: As far as I know I am the first Transhuman Hiphoppa. I only know of myself, but I’m sure there are others somewhere out there in the world. I hope to find them using my music and reach out to them.
RH: Tell the readers of Trigger Warning about a live show you performed.
MO: The last time I was on stage was at The Church of Perpetual Life. Zoltan Istvan brought me in. He was running for President at the time and spoke at the church about curing aging. I got on stage and rapped about reversing the aging process. In attendance was Bill Faloon, the founder of Life Extension, the largest vitamin company dedicated to reversing the aging process. I refuse to perform again until my project is done.
RH: Tell us about a recent recording experience.
MO: One of the most memorable sessions I had was with my producer Roc Issaics. He died last February, and there is absolutely no substitute for him. We were working on a song called “Why?” Roc brought the beat over to my home recording studio. He already had the title and concept ready. You know all those corny rappers who sell out the culture for money now? I’m not naming names, but some of these guys need to be reminded about Hiphop’s birthplace and its humble beginnings. One of these guys mocked our motto. I am Hiphop. This track is aimed at him and people like him. Hiphop culture is not about making money, though it may include it in order to get from point A to B. This certain rapper took on a thief name. He doesn’t realize he’s past his expiration date as far as the culture is concerned.
RH: Do you find that people are open to you in the Transhumanist community? Is there anything that you would like to see changed?
MO: Some people are open, but lots of things have to change. Meeting with other academics is good, no doubt, but we have to inspire the people and unite the public. This means everyone, no matter where they are on the economic ladder. I know this controversial in our community, but in order to fulfill our ancestor’s dreams of overcoming natural death, everyone will have to participate in some form or fashion. I want to send a message to the elite who hold the purse strings in our communities, both Transhumanism and Hiphop alike.
In 44 years, our way of life called Hiphop has risen to aglobal culture. It all started by plugging our sound system in the streetlight. Most of our early gatherings were held in dark parks. Once again we have to spark that energy. We have to be that streetlight in the dark ourselves and reach new heights before it’s too late. Let us unite and help build this state of the art laboratory designed to overcome death and aging. Let us agree to join forces and help get the Timeship project built. It’s a modern-day pyramid that will be built on the bedrock of science. We must build a state of the art laboratory in which scientists will be inspired to answer our oldest dilemma.
RH: What plans do you have for the future?
MO: My future goal is to put out “Maitreya One: The Hiphop State” though a wine company that makes Madeira wine. I’m going to help raise money for the Timeship project through my music.
Rachel Haywire is the Founder of Trigger Warning and your hostess for the new insurrection. She is a futurist, author, musician, and CEO of Avant Design. Currently, she is running for President of the United States as an independent candidate.